Anyway, even though I have no immediate plans to out any of the people who put a little sparkle into their drab lives by calling me and some of my friends cunts and manginas and worse than genocidal dictators, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to do anything at all. Nuh uh. I’m going to go on kvetching and nagging, like the other women bloggers who have decided no thanks, not having any more of that.
I’m going to call your attention to the AAUW report on sexual harassment in schools, for instance. I’m going to quote from it.
Girls were more likely than boys to say that they had been
negatively affected by sexual harassment—a finding that
confirms previous research by AAUW (2001) and others.
Not only were girls more likely than boys to say sexual
harassment caused them to have trouble sleeping (22
percent of girls versus 14 percent of boys), not want to go
to school (37 percent of girls versus 25 percent of boys),
or change the way they went to or home from school (10
percent of girls versus 6 percent of boys), girls were more
likely in every case to say they felt that way for “quite a
while” compared with boys. Too often, these negative
emotional effects take a toll on students’ and especially
girls’ education, resulting in decreased productivity and
increased absenteeism from school (Chesire, 2004). Thus,
although both girls and boys can encounter sexual harassment
at school, it is still a highly “gendered phenomenon
that is directly and negatively associated with outcomes
for girls” (Ormerod et al., 2008).
It’s not harmless. It’s not just “how it is.”
Many of the students who admitted to sexually harassing
others didn’t think of it as a big deal (44 percent), and
many were trying to be funny (39 percent). Only a handful
of students who harassed others did so because they wanted
a date with the person (3 percent) or thought the
person liked it (6 percent). Thus, sexual harassment does
not usually appear to be a misunderstanding. Few harassers
see themselves as “rejected suitors,” and many appear
to be misguided comedians or simply students who are
unaware, or unwilling to recognize, that their actions
may bother others. These findings suggest that prevention
efforts need to address when humor crosses the line and
becomes sexual harassment. Moreover, for some students,
understanding that sexual harassment can indeed be a big
deal for other students is a necessary first step.
Of course, for the ones who do it precisely because they do understand that it’s harmful, it’s more difficult to know how to improve their thinking. What’s a school to do? Sit them down and look them in the eye and say “why are you so determined to be a malicious piece of shit?” Well no. I don’t know what they can do though.